For those that love to read a book that keeps you intrigued detail after detail, and chapter after chapter, then “Year of Wonders’ by Geraldine Brooks is a must-read addition to any book collection. It’s a Five Star.
‘Year of Wonders’ by Geraldine Brooks takes you back to a time when medicine wasn’t so modern as in today’s world and herbs were used, but sometimes considered taboo. It is set in a small rural village on a hillside miles away from London. She tells a story that flows along through the voice of Anna Frith who was married off at the age of 15 to Sam who mined his own lead and had a team of miners. It’s a story of a time when a town is turned upside down when an unsuspecting plaque takes over killing loved ones, neighbors, children and the ensuing plight of how to deal with everyday living while coping with the stresses of finding a cure.
Anna and Sam Frith eventually had two boys before sadness set in with the loss of Sam in a mining accident. This left Anna alone to tend the animals and household. To add to Anna’s plight, the village is soon overcome with the Plague, a deadly disease that comes on swift, and death follows and it’s very contagious. The village’s townsfolk are Puritan with extremely strict beliefs, and their belief that God will heal is put to the test. The Rector, Michael Mompellion, tries to lead the people and keep their faith and trust as the town is soon shut off from other villages and/or towns. No strangers are allowed in, and those that have lived there all their life are asked to make a choice to stay so as not to spread the 'deadly plague' to others. Their solution of how to communicate and get the necessary supplies for the townspeople is a unique one when they find a way to use the large boundary stone at the edge of town in which they will leave money and orders for supplies.
Geraldine’s story is in some part a true story of Eyam, the “Plague Village,” tucked in the rugged mountain spine of England, a village that was actually cut off from society when the Plague landed in their small village in the 1600’s. The townspeople were confined, but some details the author has fictionalized and fictionalized in such a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking way that makes you feel as though you’re right alongside the characters experiencing what they are experiencing and feeling what they feel. It is mesmerizing in every detail.
It’s a story of how they have to learn to deal with day to day life and also the loss of so many lives. The book is an easy flowing read like listening to a story teller actually telling details of her life as if you’re right there in the moment with her. The joy, the heartache, the pains, secrets revealed, faiths tested, friendships ruined, and the life lessons learned during this bleak time is all felt through this author’s writing. The book is an excellent read and one of those that is hard to not finish in on sitting.
Even though it is a work of fiction, it is an eye opening account of how life must have been in the 1600’s even before being dredged down with the Plague and having to deal with being cut off from the outside world.
About the Author: Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.
In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.
Her latest book ‘CALEB’S CROSSING’ is just released 4.24.12.
Copies of 'Year of Wonders' and her other books are available:
- Barnes & Noble
You can browse all her books here: http://geraldinebrooks.com/the-books/